BlizzCon 2009: D3/WoW Press Q and A

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This BlizzCon 2009 press-only Q&A was held at the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday, August 22nd.

This transcript contains only the Diablo III, Battle.net, or general Blizzard questions. WoW-specific ones are not included on this page.

Q&A Transcript[edit]

Q: Will we get more iPhone options for the game franchises? Brack: We just released the WoW mobile armory. I think it's natural to think about what we can do to connect games with mobile phones. We are not currently planning any iPhone games.

Q: There's been a lot of information about Battle.net for StarCraft 2 and it being incorporated into WoW. What about Diablo 3?
Wilson: We've been involved in that development through the entire duration. All social networking options will be integrated into Diablo 3.

Q: Is there any possibility we'll be able to save and replay in Diablo 3?
Wilson: One of our programmers said that might be a possibility, but it was only one conversation.

Q: About mods in Diablo 3, they've been really crucial to long-term playability. What are you planning to do about them?
Wilson: We considered the idea of doing mods, but decided a map editor was too ambitious. The randomness does not lend itself to create user mod tools. We value mods, but "for us it was really a choice of randomness or in-user mods."

Q: Have you ever considered increasing the cap on some Diablo 3 skills? If not, have you considered changing the graphic representations of skills?
Wilson: Most of the caps are around five points now. What is not apparent now is that we don't intend for five to actually be the cap. We'll put items in to raise the level caps so you can customize them. In terms of changing the look of skills over time, we decided to invest in the rune system for that. There are five runes, and each one does a different thing. One splits skills, so for example you can have your magic missile split into multiple missiles. That will let you enhance the look of things.

Q: In Diablo 2, we saw the fate of heroes from Diablo 1. Will we see Diablo 2 heroes in Diablo 3?
Wilson: You will see the fate of not necessarily every hero, but we do plan to put in at least one. I would like us to do more. One we had planned was cut.

Q: In Diablo 3, is the latest build tied to a specific act? Will we be visiting specific cities per act?
Wilson: Yes, it's the second act. The acts are more of a story division for us than geography. It's a nice division for where we put our cutscenes. There will likely be multiple towns within each act, but they might not all fit the same purpose.

Q: Regarding the development cycle for Diablo 3, do you intend to get developers in from StarCraft 2 when it ships? Will you get an influx of people?
Wilson: if we need them, probably. It's typical for us to share a little bit of resources. We have had two people from our team, which is about 60 to 70 people, go to StarCraft 2. And they weren't critical members of our team. One's a UI designer. There are also strike teams of developers that play the games and give formalized feedback. I was on the Burning Crusade strike team.

Q: When can we expect to see female monk artwork?
Wilson: probably not too far in the distant future.

Q: You mentioned a dev chat thing with fansites at the summit. Do you have any details about that?
Micah Whipple: We were referring to Twitter specifically. We might answer questions live through Twitter. Some may be for fansites, while others may be just for fans.

Q: In Diablo 3, what are the reasons we would ever put more than one skill into the lower end skills?
Wilson: With low-end skills, what we try to do is use runes to amplify their powers. Some skills are designed to be early game skills and will be replaced. While we try to find ways to make those early-game skills stay useful, they'll be updated. Players can also respec.

Q: Have you had a chance to walk around the floors and play your games? Have you seen anything you already want to change?
Wilson: Yes, I spend hours watching people play Diablo 3. I can't say I've seen anything to change yet. I've been watching people play for weeks and weeks in development. For us, the biggest thing is when you get four players going with monsters on the screen and it becomes a soup of effects. It breaks core value of the company, which is gameplay first. It's not an uncommon problem.

Q: In Battle.net, can Diablo 3 players talk to Diablo 1 players?
Wilson: "I don't know if we'll backwards integrate previous games. It's always a goal. But I don't know specifically what they're plans are for that."

Q: Can you talk about how you're handling cinematics for Diablo 3? How much are you using pre-rendered and in-game cinematics?
Wilson: It's about the same level as in Diablo 2. It's a difficult story to tell with cinematics. We don't have a focus on in-game cinematics. We try to tell our actions through quests. We don't pull control away from the player.

Q: How is trading going to work in Diablo 3?
Wilson: We haven't decided yet. "Going into a chat channel and spamming it is not going to work." We're going to have some kind of trading system. It could be an auction house, it could be over Battle.net. We consider Diablo 3 to be a game all about trading.

Q: Traditionally the monk is male. How will a female monk look?
Wilson: "Sexy!" Other games have approached female monks. We're leaning away from having a bald head. Like with other classes, we're going to take a note from the male and find something that makes her stand out.

Q: Diablo 2 felt quite linear in level design. Does Diablo 3 intend to have a point C or D that branches off, or is it more of moving from point A to B?
'Wilson:' We're still focusing on a more linear game. With all the random content we have to create, adding branching would be difficult. We're still giving the feeling of nonlinearity though.


Sources[edit]

  • Zam.com provided the most complete transcript.
  • Gamespot and The Escapist provided summaries.
  • Diii.net provided a recording of the event (not posted publicly, since Jay Wilson wasn't using a microphone and the sound quality is very poor).